Catherine Acuff, PhD, a member-at-large of the APA Board of Directors and a candidate for this year's APA presidential elections, died April 21 from complications of an aneurysm. She was 51.
"Catherine was a strong, kind, independent woman," says APA Chief Executive Director Raymond D. Fowler, PhD. "Her leadership was based on her high principles and her absolute honesty. I will miss her greatly as a friend and colleague."
In running for APA president, Acuff had said that she wanted to bring her background as a practitioner, educator, supervisor, advocate and a woman to the deliberative process. As a member of APA's Board of Directors (1998-2000), one of Acuff's top priorities was keeping APA strong and responsive to all members.
Acuff had a wealth of experience in psychology's various fields. Since 1998, she was senior health policy analyst in the Office of the Associate Director for Medical Affairs, Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. She served as program director for a national multisite study of HIV-AIDS health outcomes, treatment adherence and costs.
From 1997 to 1998, she was a consultant to APA and to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she focused on mental health parity benefits and provider relationships for the CMHS Office of Managed Care.
Before coming to Washington, D.C., Acuff had been a private practitioner in Windsor, Conn., since 1982, treating children, adolescents and adults in individual, group and family psychotherapy. Acuff received her PhD in counseling psychology from Duke University in 1981, her undergraduate degree from Mississippi University for Women, and her MEd from Memphis State University.
Her APA governance activities also included serving on APA's Council of Representatives (1990-93 and 1994-97). She was a Fellow of APA's Div. 35 (Women), president of Div. 31 (State Psychological Association Affairs) and a member of Divs. 26 (History), 42 (Independent Practice) and 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian and Gay Issues). Acuff was a Fellow of the Connecticut Psychological Association; she served as the association's president (1987-88) and on its Board of Directors (1985-96). She has been honored with numerous awards including the Distinguished Contribution to the Connecticut Psychological Association Award in 1993 and 1999; the Karl F. Heiser Award for Advocacy in 1995; and the Special Recognition Award, presented by Div. 31 in 1996. "Catherine was not only a wonderful friend and strong advocate for psychology, she was a woman of great integrity and passion," says colleague Connie Chan, PhD. "We at Div. 44 and on Council will miss her energy, wisdom and laughter; but we will always remember her friendship and achievements."
Memorial contributions can be sent to The American Psychological Foundation, 750 First St., N.E., Washington, DC 20002. Please make checks out to the American Psychological Foundation and indicate through a note on the check or separately that you want the donation to be in Catherine's memory.